Set up call centre to address woes: KERC tells Mescom

KERC hearing on tariff revision turns 'public grievance meet'

Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) Chairman Srinivas Murthy has directed the Mescom to set up a dedicated call centre to attend the grievances of the consumers coming under its jurisdiction within three months.

Speaking at a hearing on tariff revision proposed by the Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (MESCOM) here on Wednesday, Murthy said the call centre should receive complaints and make follow up till the complaint is rectified and send a message to the consumer after the rectification of the problem.

All the Escoms should ensure that their interaction with the consumers is intensified. He directed the Mescom Managing Director M Govindappa to hold grievances meeting at the sub divisional level once in two months. Along with issuing a press release, the Mescom should send atleast 100 post cards to the selected consumers and organisations informing them on the meeting to address their grievances. The Mescom has proposed increase in tariff by 66 paise per unit.

The KERC Chairman also directed the Mescom to ensure that there will be no interruption in the supply of electricity during monsoon.


A majority of the public who participated in the meeting said that shortage of linemen has affected the services of the Mescom. Before taking up the proposal on hiking the tariff, the Mescom should initiate measures to fill the vacancies of linemen. The public urged the Mescom to improve the quality and reduce the transmission loss before seeking tariff revision.

Objections


In its objection, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said that perennial cross subsidizing will destroy small scale industries. In Kerala, power is supplied to industries at rates much lower than in Karnataka. As a result, many small scale industries in Dakshina Kannada have closed down on account of their inability to compete in pricing their products compared to the price of products of Kerala. The service industries should be categorised under LT 5 category. Time of Day (TOD) tariff should be made attractive. Incentive for prompt payment should be extended to those whose billing exceeds Rs 10,000.

Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association Chairman K Jayaraj Pai said that there is considerable scope for reduction in costs and improving efficiencies to set off the proposed additional expenditure by the Mescom and the proposed tariff revision needs to be opposed.

Ramakrishna Sharma from Udupi said that the vigilance squad should furnish details on unlawful acts and unauthorised use of electricity to its consumers before acting against the consumers, to which, Murthy directed the Mescom MD to print a hand bill on unauthorised connections and distribute it among consumers.

Savayava Krishi Parivara Secretary Balasubramanya said the Mescom has failed to furnish information to consumers on load shedding. Consumers in Belthangady, Sullia and Puttur are affected with low voltage.

Nagarika Hitharakshana Samithi President Hanumantha Kamath said that the revision in tariff was not necessary and if the Mescom cuts down its unnecessary expenditure, then the income can be increased. There are instances of theft of equipment from sub stations. However, the Mescom has failed to act.

Malnad Areca Marketing Co-operative Society Ltd (MAMCOS) Vice President Narasimha Nayak said that the Mescom has failed to cut branches of the trees which are dangling on the transmission wires inspite of complaints to the higher authorities in Malnad region. When the dues are pending from industries, why Mescom has failed to initiate measures to recover the dues? he asked.

A rebate of Rs 100 should be given to those consumers who have installed solar water heaters and solar lights.
When he raised the issue of electricity supply to Kammaradi and Konandoor, the KPTCL official said that transformer work at Kammaradi is in progress and will be charged in May.

When Krishnamurthy of Farmers Foundation said that owing to classification of dark and grey areas, IP sets are not given electricity connections inspite of mines department issuing a notification on safer areas.

Satyanarayana Udupa, one of the consumers, said that 2,165 consumers in Udupi division have filed objections for revision of tariff. The Commission shold order for energy audit across all the Escoms in the State. There is a need to regularise the IP sets. The Mescom has received 2,658 objections.

Mescom view

Mescom Managing Director M M Govindappa said that with the increase in power purchase and cost of power purchase, increase in O and M expenses on account of inflation and increase in interest charges, the revision of tariff is necessiated.

Govindappa said that majority of the revenue generated is used in the purchase of power and the Mescom has incurred deficit of Rs 340.52 crore in the year of 2012-13, when compared to its revenue projected and earned.

KERC Members Arun Kumar and Mavival Raju were also present.

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